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Renter's Guide to Durham
With a bustling economy and educational opportunities galore, Durham has steadily cultivated a robust entrepreneurial spirit within a laid-back urban atmosphere for quite some time. Add a rich sports culture, affordable living rates, and a Civil War history, and it’s easy to see why this is a good place for fledgling families from all backgrounds to call home.
Durham is the fourth largest city in North Carolina, located at the northernmost point of “The Research Triangle” – a region whose imaginary borders are delineated by the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. In the center of these three areas is the Research Triangle Park, home to many high-tech businesses which employ the local population.
Durham is roughly four times larger than Chapel Hill, and only slightly smaller than Raleigh (while also half as populated). As such, Durham retains a wonderfully diverse community with a close-knit feel. Durham residents enjoy a close proximity to other popular cities as well. Raleigh is 25 miles northwest of Durham, Chapel Hill is 11 miles southwest of Durham, and Durham is roughly 140 miles northeast of Charlotte. The closest beach to Durham (NC) is Wrightsville Beach, approximately 156 miles south.
Durham’s climate matches that of the rest of the Carolinas – all four seasons are represented equally throughout the year, so the weather in Durham is mostly pleasant and mild. Summers (June-August) average 76 F and are slightly rainy. Springs (March-May) average 56 F with lots of sun. Autumns (September-November) have an average temperature of 61 F and tend to be a little cloudy, while winters (December-January) average 43 F and only receive light amounts of snow, if any.
Durham, NC Demographics
- Total Population257,232
Female 120,795Male 136,437
- Median Age33.6
Cost of Living in Durham, NCThe cost of living in Durham is very competitive, especially considering the area’s notoriously strong employment opportunities. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs $10, which is $2 below the national average. A loaf a fresh white bread costs $3.11 on average, which is slightly higher (78 cents) than the country’s norm. The Durham Station runs 7 days a week, and the average cost for a bus ticket in Durham is $1 (children under 12 and seniors 65 and over ride for free). A wide variety of weekly and monthly passes are also available. In total, 53 buses and 18 routes proudly serve all your traveling needs. Overall, the average commute time in Durham (NC) is 21 minutes, 4 minutes faster than the national average. As for utilities, the cost of living in Durham is slightly more expensive than the national average, but still within reason. In a 915 square-foot apartment, Durham residents pay about $169.41 for heating, water, electricity, and other standard bills. The national average, in comparison, is $136.49.
Average Rent in Durham, NC
- Durham, NC Average Rental Price, May 2019$1,126/mo
Durham, NC Apartment Rent Ranges
- > $2,0003%
Durham, NC Rent Trends
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Living in Durham
“What’s it like living in Durham,” many ask. Well, living in Durham is a very enriching and rewarding experience! Out of 1,700 cities, Durham was ranked number 29 by the Martin Prosperity Institute for its outstanding livability. The quicker commute time to Research Triangle Park is definitely another reason why you should move to Durham (compared to Raleigh or Chapel Hill). On the other hand, one of the negatives of living in Durham is some people become turned off by the “small city” feel.
Being home to North Carolina’s first Civil Rights “sit-ins” and the first official interracial basketball contest, Durham has a long history of fostering African-American heritage and promoting cultural integration. This is absolutely one of the cultural hotspots of North Carolina.
Things to do in Durham
Although the business sector is thriving, there are also plenty of points of interests & attractions for fun and play. Downtown contains some of best things to do in Durham, free or otherwise – if you want to root for your favorite local team (be it the Striders, Bulls or the Blue Devils), the best sports bars in Durham are to be found here.
As for things to do with kids and couples attractions, head over to the Couple Wheels Fun Park to enjoy plenty of mini-golf, go-karts, and a roller rink. Children will especially like 84 acres crawling with over 60 species of animals - including the largest butterfly house on the East Coast - at the Museum of Life and Science, or the prime fishing action at Falls Lake Recreation Area (one of the most beautiful places in Durham). The annual Bull Durham Blues Festival features local and national headlining acts to dazzle all night, and the Bennet Place is one of the many Civil War sites with free admission.
For fine dining, the French cuisine at Vin Rogue has been continuously rated as the best restaurant in Durham by local and national publications alike (including the New York Post). Italian Pizzeria is a must-try for Italian cuisine enthusiasts, serving both authentic Italian pasta and lasagna as well as New Yorker-style pizza.
If you just want to get your hands dirty, stop by the Burger and Brewery for gourmet beef patties with a wide variety of toppings and exotic cheeses. Donut fans can indulge their cravings at Krispy Kreme, 3536 Hillsborough Road. Finally, take advantage of amazing retail steals at Northgate Mall (off I-85) and The Streets at Southpoint.
Working in Durham
Employment rates are extremely favorable thanks to a plethora of nearby high-tech industries in the Research Park Triangle. Major players include Verizon, Cisco Systems, IBM, and government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency.
Durham, NC Households
- Total Number of Households104,966
Family 58,505Non-family 46,461
Children 30,858No Children 74,108
- Average People Per Household2.35
- Median Household Income$54,284
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$1,047
Top Colleges in Durham
Aside from Duke University - ranked 8th in the nation, the area is also home to the Durham Technical Community College, which has remained among North Carolina’s best-ranked community colleges for the past five years. Similarly, the Hillside High School hosts a state-of-the-art Business and Finance Academy.
Durham, NC Education Statistics
- No High School6%
- Some High School24%
- Some College20%
- Associate Degree6%
- Bachelor Degree25%
- Graduate Degree20%
Tips for Renting in Durham
Renters rights in Durham are different than almost anywhere in the country. There is no legal notice needed before a landlord can enter the home. If a case goes to court, your landlord may not sue for attorney fees. New Yorkers will be pleased to hear that consumer prices including rent are 80% lower in Durham, but here’s a tip before moving to Durham: you are going to need a car!
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